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What you need to know Before You Dig

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What is BYDA?

BYDA (Before You Dig Australia), formerly known as DBYD (Dial Before You Dig), is a national free service that provides information about the location of underground utilities.

BYDA provides a centralised point of contact for anyone planning to excavate or dig in any area, enabling them to access critical information on the location of underground pipes, cables, and other infrastructure before starting any excavation work.

The information provided by BYDA helps contractors, engineers, and homeowners plan construction projects safely and efficiently while avoiding damage to underground utilities.

byda-Homepage@2x-scaled
BYDA website homepage hero image

History of BYDA - formerly DBYD

Name changed to BYDA - Before You Dig Australia

DBYD was first established in Australia in 1983 by a group of utility companies who recognised the need for a centralised system to manage inquiries about underground utilities. 

In 2021, DBYD changed its name to BYDA – Before You Dig Australia. This change was made to reflect the organisation’s broader focus on safety and education in addition to its utility locating services.

BYDA's former logo name which is DYBD or Dial Before You Dig
Former logo of DBYD
Before You Dig Australia new logo and service name
New logo of BYDA

In recent news, it has been announced that the Dial Before You Dig (DBYD) service will now be known as Before You Dig Australia (BYDA).

The name change officially came into effect on July 1, 2022, after being approved by the company’s Board of Directors.

The DBYD service has been in operation in Australia for over 30 years, providing a vital service to contractors, builders, and homeowners by identifying and mapping out underground utility infrastructure before any excavation work takes place. 

So why the name change? 

According to the company, the new name is part of a rebranding effort aimed at modernising the service and making it more accessible to a wider audience. The new name, Before You Dig Australia (BYDA), is designed to be more straightforward and easier to remember, reflecting the simplicity of the service’s purpose.

The name change also reflects the company’s commitment to improving its service and keeping up with industry standards.

With advancements in technology and the increasing demand for faster and more efficient services, the company aims to streamline its processes and provide an even better experience for its users.

Overall, the name change to BYDA is a positive step forward for the Dial Before You Dig service. 

It highlights the importance of safe excavation practices and the crucial role that the service plays in protecting Australia’s underground infrastructure. 

EXCAVATION EXCAVATOR UNDERGROUND SERVICES LOCATING LOCATION Sydney NSW
Safe excavation process

With its renewed focus and dedication, Before You, Dig Australia is set to continue providing an essential service to the Australian community for years to come.

BYDA now provides a range of resources and training programs designed to promote safe excavation practices and prevent damage to underground utilities. These resources are available to contractors, engineers, and homeowners and include online courses, webinars, and safety guides.

DBYD/BYDA 5P’s of Safe Excavation

In addition to providing information about the location of underground utilities, DBYD/BYDA also promotes safe excavation practices through its 5Ps of Safe Excavation. These five 5P’s stand for Plan, Prepare, Pothole, Protect, and Proceed.

1. PLAN

[Flip the card to see the meaning]

The first P - Plan

It all about taking the time to plan your excavation work carefully. This involves using the BYDA service to obtain information about the location of underground infrastructure and identify any potential risks and hazards.

2. PREPARE

[Flip the card to see the meaning]

The second P - Prepare

It is about making sure that you have all the necessary equipment and resources before starting any excavation work. This includes having the correct tools and machinery, protective gear, and any permits or approvals required.

3. POTHOLE

[Flip the card to see the meaning]

The third P - Pothole

It refers to the process of physically exposing underground infrastructure by digging small test holes around the excavation site. This helps to verify the location of underground utilities and ensure that excavation work can proceed safely.

4. PROTECT

[Flip the card to see the meaning]

The fourth P - Protect

It involves taking steps to protect underground infrastructure during excavation work. This may include the use of protective barriers, shoring, or other support structures to prevent damage to utilities such as gas, water, or electricity.

5. PROCEED

[Flip the card to see the meaning]

The fifth and final P - Proceed

It is all about proceeding with the excavation work once all the necessary precautions have been taken. This involves working carefully and methodically to avoid damaging any underground utilities.

By following the 5P’s of Safe Excavation, contractors, builders, and homeowners can help to ensure that excavation work is carried out safely and without causing damage to underground infrastructure.

The BYDA service provides a wealth of information and resources to assist with this process, making it easier than ever to plan and execute excavation work in a safe and responsible manner.

How does BYDA work?

To use BYDA, you need to submit an inquiry online or by phone before you start digging or excavating. The enquiry will include details about the location and scope of the project, including the type of work you’ll be doing and the areas you’ll be digging. 

BYDA Enquiry Process
BYDA Enquiry Process

Once you’ve submitted the enquiry, BYDA will send the information to the utility companies that operate in the area where you’ll be working. 

The companies will then provide information about the location of their underground utilities, including pipes, cables, and other infrastructure. 

The information provided by BYDA and the utility companies is crucial in ensuring that the digging and excavation work is done safely and without causing damage to any underground utilities.

Importance of BYDA

The importance of using the Before You Dig Australia (BYDA) service cannot be overstated, especially when it comes to fulfilling your duty of care.

As a homeowner, contractor, or builder, it is your responsibility to ensure that any excavation work you undertake is done safely and without causing damage to underground utility infrastructure.

Failing to do so can have serious consequences, including the possibility of,

NOT being covered by your insurance if you don't fulfil your Duty of Care

Insurance policies typically require individuals to take reasonable steps to prevent damage, and failing to use the BYDA service to identify and map out underground utility infrastructure can be seen as a breach of this duty of care.

If damage is caused as a result of not using the BYDA service, insurance companies may argue that the individual did not take reasonable steps to prevent the damage and may deny coverage. 

This can leave individuals facing significant costs for repairs and compensation claims, which can be financially devastating.

In addition to the financial risks, failing to use the BYDA service can also pose a serious safety risk to workers and the public. 

Damage to gas, water, or electricity infrastructure can result in explosions, fires, and electrocutions, putting lives in danger.

Damage to underground services during excavation process
Damage to underground services during excavation process

Using the BYDA service is a simple and effective way to mitigate these risks. By identifying and mapping out underground utility infrastructure before any excavation work takes place, individuals can ensure that they are fulfilling their duty of care and taking reasonable steps to prevent damage.

Benefits of using BYDA

BYDA helps ensure that digging and excavation work is done safely, reducing the risk of injury or death to workers and the public.

By preventing damage to underground utilities, contractors, and homeowners can avoid costly repairs and fines.

Damage to underground utilities can cause environmental damage, including pollution and contamination. BYDA helps prevent this by providing accurate information about the location of utilities.

By providing accurate information about the location of underground utilities, BYDA helps contractors and homeowners plan their work more efficiently, reducing the time and cost involved in the project.

Having plans of where services are within the nature strip and roadside allows for better maintenance and repair work to be carried out, which can improve the overall quality of infrastructure and public spaces.

BYDA promotes improved coordination between contractors and utility providers, as it allows for better planning and communication between the different parties involved in a project.

By accurately mapping underground utilities, contractors can avoid unnecessary disruptions to local communities and businesses during the construction process. This can help minimise inconvenience and maintain a positive relationship with the community.

BYDA uses advanced technology to provide accurate and reliable information about the location of underground utilities, reducing the risk of errors and mistakes during the construction process.

The use of BYDA offers many benefits to both contractors and the public, including increased safety, cost savings, environmental protection, efficiency, and accuracy.

How much does a BYDA Request cost?

How much the BYDA plans cost
How much the BYDA plans cost

When it comes to obtaining information from Before You Dig Australia (BYDA), many people wonder if there is a cost associated with the service. The good news is that for those who are planning on digging, the service is completely free.

This means that if you are a homeowner, contractor, or builder who needs to undertake any kind of excavation work, you can use the BYDA service to identify any underground utility infrastructure in the area for free. This can include gas, water, electricity, telecommunications, and more.

However, it is important to note that some plans may cost money. These are typically plans that are requested for design purposes, rather than excavation work.

For example, if you are an engineer or architect who needs to plan out a new construction project and require information on underground utility infrastructure, you may need to pay a fee for access to certain plans.

The cost of these plans can vary depending on the type of information required and the level of detail needed. 

It is worth noting that the fees charged by BYDA for these plans are designed to cover the costs of accessing and compiling the information, and are not intended to generate profit for the company.

In general, the fees for design plans are reasonable and reflect the value of the information being provided. The exact cost will depend on the specific requirements of the project and the level of detail required in the plans.

Jemena Gas BYDA Sydney Harbour
Sample Jemena Gas BYDA Plan Sydney Harbour

If you are planning on digging in Australia, you can rest assured that the BYDA service is completely free to use. For those requiring plans for design purposes, there may be a cost involved, but this is designed to cover the costs of accessing and providing the necessary information.

Advantages and Disadvantages of Using BYDA

Advantages of using BYDA

One of the key advantages of using BYDA is having plans of where services are within the nature strip. 

Sydney Water BYDA Macquarie St Sydney
Sydney Water BYDA Macquarie St Sydney

This information can be extremely useful for contractors and homeowners who need to perform excavation or digging work.

With accurate information about the location of underground utilities, they can avoid damaging any vital infrastructure, such as gas, water, or electrical lines.

This can lead to cost savings, environmental protection, and increased safety.

Another advantage is having an indication of where the main utility assets are located. This can be especially helpful for contractors who are new to a particular area or who are working on a large project. 

Request area BYDA Sydney Harbour
Request Area BYDA Sydney Harbour

Knowing the location of the main utility assets can help them plan their work more efficiently, reducing the time and cost involved in the project.

Furthermore, BYDA can provide an indication of what private services may be buried nearby due to what main services are shown on the plans.

This can be particularly useful for homeowners who are planning to make changes to their property, such as installing a pool or a new fence. Knowing what private services are buried nearby can help them avoid costly repairs or damage to these services.

Disadvantages of using BYDA

Despite its many advantages, BYDA has some limitations that should be considered.  One of the main disadvantages is that it does not show all utilities underground. 

While BYDA can provide valuable information about the location of underground utilities, it may not be comprehensive or up-to-date. 

This means that contractors and homeowners may need to take additional steps to confirm the locations of underground utilities, such as potholing or contacting utility companies directly

EPOSING UNDERGROUND SERVICES USING NON-DESTRUCTIVE DIGGING TO EXPOSE UNDERGROUND SERVICES
Homeowner hiring utility locating companies to ensure safe digging

Another limitation of BYDA is that it rarely shows private services on private property. While BYDA can provide information about public utilities, it may not provide information about private utilities or infrastructure on private property. 

This means that homeowners or contractors may need to take additional steps to locate these services or infrastructure, which can add to the cost and complexity of a project.

It is also important to note that BYDA plans are a guide only and the locations need to be confirmed by locating and potholing

Potholing Excavation in Caringbah NSW service provided by Geoscope
BYDA plans utilised for potholing underground utilities

BYDA plans may not always be accurate, so contractors and homeowners should verify the information provided by BYDA through on-site inspection and investigation.

Finally, the plans provided by BYDA are only valid for a limited time

On average, they are only valid for between 14–30 days. This means that contractors and homeowners may need to obtain updated plans if they plan to work on a project over an extended period. Failure to obtain updated plans can lead to inaccurate information and potential damage to underground utilities.

Overall, BYDA (formerly DBYD) is a vital tool for anyone involved in excavation or construction work. Its utility locating services and resources promote safe excavation practices and help prevent damage to underground utilities, protecting workers and the public and avoiding costly repairs and fines.

By taking advantage of the information and resources provided by BYDA, contractors, engineers, and homeowners can ensure that their excavation projects are completed safely, efficiently, and without incident.

Picture of Patricia Cupiado

Patricia Cupiado

Co-Author of this Article

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